RCDS Welcomes Hundreds to Campus for International Physics Tournament

Rye Country Day welcomed nearly 200 students and jurors from across the globe to campus last weekend to participate in the United States Invitational Young Physicists Tournament (USIYPT). The annual event, hosted for the first time by Rye Country Day, is a physics research and debate tournament that provides high school students with the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and application of physics.

The 13 teams who competed for the title have been training for the tournament for a year, studying a series of challenges ranging from predicting extraterrestrial rainbows to testing transport via a pneumatic tube system. During the tournament, teams competed via "physics fights," or student-led debates over the quality of each team's solutions. Each round was judged by a panel of jurors comprising RCDS faculty, alumni, USIYPT board members, and physics professors.

Additional challenges throughout the weekend, including a poster showcase, provided additional opportunities for teams to exhibit their work. Participants also had the opportunity to hear from RCDS alumnus and USIYPT juror Dr. Al Rizzi '82, who serves as the chief scientist at Boston Dynamics. Dr. Rizzi wowed participants with a presentation on some of the "legged" robots he has developed.

Dr. Rizzi '82 addressing participants during his keynote featuring his work at Boston Dynamics.

    Dr. Mary Krasovec, who coached the RCDS team and also serves on the board of the United States Invitational Young Physicists Tournament, discussed the philosophy of the tournament emphasizing the scientific "search for truth" over the end result of simply selecting a winner. She explained, "What I really love about YPT is that it isn't just a competition; it is a discussion between peers. It's like a science conference where you come away really understanding some interesting physics, and, as a bonus, have the chance to meet enthusiastic young physicists and their teachers from all over the world."

    A special thank you to the alumni who returned to campus to participate in the event as jurors, Dr. Rizzi for his inspiring presentation, and Dr. Mary Krasovec for her countless hours organizing this year's event.

    Overall Tournament Results

    Members of the Phillips Exeter Academy team after receiving the USIYPT trophy.

    Tournament Rankings:

    • 1st Place Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire (82.39 pts)
    • 2nd Place Phillips Andover Academy, Massachusetts (76.56 pts)
    • 3rd Place Woodberry Forest School, Virginia (75.51 pts)*
    • 3rd Place Shenzhen Middle School, China (74.79 pts)*
    • 3rd Place The Nueva School, California (73.65 pts)*
    • 4th Place Cary Academy, North Carolina (68.2 pts)

    The tournament director Tengiz Bibilashvili groups together teams that have similar scores, which resulted in three teams placing third.

    Awarded the Swartz Trophy for Best Physics Poster:

    • Pioneer High School Menzah VIII, Ariana, Tunisia

    Awarded The Tengiz Bibilashvili Award for Excellence in Physics:

    • Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire
    • Phillips Andover Academy, Massachusetts
    • Woodberry Forest School, Virginia
    • Shenzhen Middle School, China
    • The Nueva School, California
    • Cary Academy, North Carolina
    • The Harker School, California
    • Rye Country Day School, New York

    Connections to RCDS Learning Goals:

    • Express well-formed ideas clearly and powerfully in writing, speaking, presenting, and creating.
    • Team with others to tackle complex problems.
    • Apply effective and persistent effort.
    • Ask questions and seek to understand.